Security software provider Sophos is willing to consider potential acquisitions in the storage market, according to Senior VP Michael McGuinness. During a Sophos partner conference today in Las Vegas, the company described a "complete security" strategy that includes endpoint security, unified threat management (UTM), mobile device management (MDM), encryption, and other services for VARs and MSPs. It's still hypothetical, but storage could be an interesting addition to that long-term strategy.

During an interview with MSPmentor, McGuinness mentioned that some conference attendees have been discussing storage trends and opportunities. And during a session now, Sophos executives are talking about bringing security to public cloud storage services like DropBox.

Also, multiple Sophos executives here at the conference mentioned Sophos is in the market to make more acquisitions. Already, Sophos has acquired Astaro for Unified Threat Management (UTM) and Dialogs for MDM. Apax Partners, a private equity firm, acquired majority control of Sophos in 2010, and Sophos has been buying companies since that time.

Storage Connection?

Asked specifically if Sophos would push beyond security to focus on storage, McGuinness didn't rule out the possibility. "We think that's an area where there could be a fit but it would come down to finding the right solution [for potential acquisition. We're interested."

Still, Sophos does not want to repeat the Symantec-Veritas business merger from around 2005. "Other than gaining diversification and scale there wasn't synergy with that deal," said McGuinness. "Both firms were focused on high-end enterprise sales. But the guy who buys data center storage is different from the guy who buys security."

In stark contrast, Sophos focuses on mid-market solutions. And in that setting, Sophos believes the same IT managers are potentially focused on both security and storage.

Some security companies have already made cloud-oriented storage moves. One example involves Trend Micro's 2010 buyout of humyo. And Symantec has been updating its endpoint security and Backup Exec strategies for the Symantec.cloud initiative. I'm not sure if or how McAfee could potentially play in the storage market. Kaspersky Lab seems committed to focusing purely on security.

The Bigger Discussion

Of course, it's important to put my Sophos conversation with McGuinness in proper context. During the 30-minute discussion, potential M&A scenarios consumed only about five minutes. Most of the conversation focused on Sophos offering complete security solutions entirely through the IT channel. McGuinness offered updates on Sophos's efforts to converge unified threat management, endpoint security and mobile device management (MDM).

I'll share more on those trends a little later today. The Sophos Partner Connections Conference continues through May 23 in Las Vegas.